Editorial 3(1): Behind the Scenes at J-BILD

ALISON CRUMP, Marianopolis College and McGill University

LAUREN HALCOMB-SMITH, Royal Roads College

MELA SARKAR, McGill University

The publication of this issue marks J-BILD’s third year in press and our fourth issue. Over the last several years we have been working out how to run a journal. What is our vision for the journal? Where do we fit within the landscape of scholarly publishing? Is it where we want to fit? How do we create our own space while staying true to the values and ideals of scholarship as “making knowledge together” (Paré, 2016)? What kind of work do editors, authors, peer mentors, copy-editors, and readers have to do together to make that space?

We have touched on these questions in previous editorials; in Volume 1(1), we focused on J-BILD’s guiding principles as an open-source, collaborative peer-mentoring journal, inclusive of all stages of the publication cycle. In Volume 2(1), we went further in describing our approach to open scholarship and collaborative peer review. In Volume 2(2), we made a case for publishing as an act of hope and defiance against intolerance. It is evident from our past editorials, as well as our published articles, that J-BILD is a journal that invites members of the scholarly community to revisit assumptions, both about the field of inquiry and about the nature of scholarly publishing. 

J-BILD represents a new model of academic publishing, in contrast to the traditional publishing house of yore. Picture academics (white men, mostly), hunched over oak desks, clouds of cigar smoke hanging in the air, the clink of ice cubes in a freshly poured tumbler of whisky. There are piles of papers precariously balanced everywhere. Young women rush back and forth with proofs needing editorial approval (by men— “Miss, take this and type it up for 4pm, would you?”) And the sound of the typewriter. Click clack. Click clack. Click. Ding! Busy women, averaging 90 words per minute. 

Professional women in 2019 are no less busy than their foremothers. But it’s a different kind of busy. The accident of history that has meant that J-BILD’s editorial team is made up of women has had the effect of making us reflect on ways in which academia may be changing. Women are no longer relegated to minor secretarial or other essentially menial functions in the world of intellectual work. Mothers who are professionals and scholars are no longer swimming against the current. 

For the three of us, our development in these domains—the personal, professional, and academic–has happened concurrently. Our graduate work coincided with the birth of our children, and so our scholarly work has always been interwoven with the dailiness of our lives. Ding! Another email comes in. Waah! The baby’s woken up. Reach for the (baby) bottle. We have perfected the art of nursing whilst editing articles, annotating bibliographies, and debunking outmoded theories. Since launching J-BILD in 2017, our senior editorial team has welcomed two babies and a fifth grandbaby, two career changes, one cross-country move, a wedding, and more. Rather than seek to keep these parts of our identities separate and siloed, we draw strength and inspiration from our family lives for our professional and scholarly work, and vice versa. There have been many J-BILD meetings that have taken place over Skype while one of us breastfeeds an infant or plays with a toddler or knits something special for a cherished grandchild. We fit in emails to our authors during lunch breaks at our day jobs, write editorials while babies nap, and review manuscripts while the dishwasher runs in the background after bedtime. 

If scholarship is making knowledge together, then the kind of knowledge we create together depends on the kinds of relationships we bring to and create through our scholarly work. J-BILD is built on a supportive, community-based model where members are not excluded from publishing based on certain norms of merit (title, academic experience, research output, etc.). J-BILD authors actively take part in a collaborative review process with a peer mentor—the process is transparent and includes authors in every phase of the publication process. The relationships that are built throughout this process are no less important than the product, i.e., the journal issue. We are encouraged that this model seems to be resonating with our authors and mentors. As one of our authors wrote to us recently: “[My peer mentor] has been an amazing support throughout this process. I keep telling my fellow graduate students that it is possible to have a positive review experience and am encouraging them to look into J-BILD! I sincerely hope this collaborative approach can be taken up by other journals, as it has been so helpful to me as a junior scholar.” 

This issue is perhaps the most representative of our lives behind the scenes of J-BILD. In January 2019, we received 11 submissions for this current issue. With our hands full of babies and older children, juggling mothering and careers and families, we found ourselves rushing to keep up with our own self-imposed tight timelines for the journal (i.e., moving from submission to publication in less than half a year). And by acting in haste, we found we were losing the sense of connection, the relationships with our authors, with our peer mentors, and even with each other. To foster the community-building that is at the heart of J-BILD, we needed to allow more time to mull, to ponder, to read, to write, to reflect, and to connect. In our opening paragraph above, we asked, how do we create our own space while staying true to the values and ideals of scholarship as “making knowledge together” (Paré, 2016)? The answer is: by slowing down and managing expectations—our own and others’. 

We have a number of manuscripts in process and look forward to publishing them in due time. For this issue, we are very pleased to present two articles that we judged were valuable contributions to perspectives on diversity in education in contemporary Canadian contexts. Each is from a different stage of the research cycle, namely, a critical literature review and a research study. 

Isabelle Côté is the author of “Regard croisé sur l’intégration des perspectives autochtones dans les recherches menées en français au Canada”, a critical literature review of research related to the integration of Indigenous perspectives into teacher education and K-12 programs in British Columbia. Through her discussion and interpretation of Canadian-based research, Côté reveals a number of challenges and successes found in integrating the perspectives of Indigenous people. 

“‘How am I supposed to teach them French when they can’t even speak English?’: Unpacking the myth of English proficiency as a prerequisite for French immersion” is a recent research study by Stephen Davis. In this article, Davis explores the beliefs of French immersion teachers about Allophones in French immersion in Saskatoon. He frames his study within the sociolinguistic landscape of Canada and Saskatchewan, highlighting the problematic nature of the Anglophone-Francophone binary within conversations around language and education, which essentially exclude citizens who speak a first language other than French or English. Davis presents and interprets the data generated through questionnaires and semi-structured interviews with French immersion teachers to reveal how French immersion teachers perceive the suitability of French immersion for Allophone students in Saskatoon, as well as how these teachers perceive English proficiency as a determinant of success. Davis concludes with practical recommendations for school boards and a call for further research about Allophone learners in French immersion programs. 

REFERENCES

Paré, A. (2016, April 17). Making knowledge together: Voice, identity, agency, and communal effort [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://bild-lida.ca/blog/uncategorized/making-knowledge-together-voice-identity-agency-and-communal-effort-by-dr-anthony-pare

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